Doug Ford is still clueless about what racism is.
During a debate at Centennial College in Scarborough on Monday, a question was raised about how mayoral candidates Ford, John Tory, and Olivia Chow would curb the proliferation of hate speech in one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
Ford used the question to leverage an attack on Tory, calling him “the same person that called me a racist today, called me a homophobic, and called me anti-Semitic.”
The Toronto councillor defended his reputation to the audience by speaking in third-person: “Because everyone in this city knows Doug Ford is not a racist.”
Ford hit back at Tory, calling him “Mr. Clean and Crisp” and “constantly, constantly on the attack.” He then accused Tory of calling him “trash” and asked the audience, “Is that not a racist comment if you call someone ‘trash’?”
Audience reaction to the remark pushed him to further explain his reasoning.
“That’s attacking someone, attacking someone personally; calling me a racist is not racism? C’mon,” he said.
Ford’s latest comments about racism come one day after he stirred controversy at a debate over his response to a question about preventing anti-Semitism.
On Sunday, mayoral candidate Ari Goldkind brought up racial slurs Mayor Ford made earlier this year, saying, “We cannot have a mayor like that.”
“I’m not going to address your comment,” Ford said. Instead, he listed the Jewish people in his life: “You know something, my doctor, my Jewish doctor, my Jewish dentist, my Jewish lawyer, my Jewish accountant…”
He was quickly booed by the audience at the private Jewish high school where the debate was held.
In a statement, Tory blasted Ford’s comments as “inexcusable” and accused him of using “the classic refuge of racists, anti-Semites and homophobes: ‘But I have lots of [insert minority group] friends!’”
It’s not the first time Ford raised eyebrows over his definition of racism.
In July, shirtless jogger Joe Killoran called Rob Ford a “corrupt, lying, racist, homophobe” after confronting the mayor during a Canada Day parade. The next day, Doug told media Killoran was a “left wing lunatic” and accused him of being a “racist” toward his brother.
Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale questioned Doug about what he interpreted to be racial slurs in the comments Killoran made about his brother.
Doug admitted his definition of the word was more flexible than others: "It doesn't have to be about race,” he explained.
“You can be a racist against people that eat little red apples. You can be a racist against people that have a drinking problem. You can be racist against people that are too fat," he said.
"So that's my answer to that."
Toronto voters head to the polls on Oct. 27.
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